Lead Generation: Long Forms, Short Forms, Medium Forms

October 12, 2009
By Robbin Steif

Everyone works hard at their sites and then throws up a form that “seems to cover it.” But shouldn’t we work harder at our forms? After all, it is the last point the potential lead has to bail out of the conversion process.

A million years ago, when I first started LunaMetrics, I felt like there were three kinds of lead generation forms:

  1. Very long forms.  Marketing often likes to do these kinds of forms so that the sales people will feel the leads are well-qualified (and so that Marketing knows which salesperson to send them to.)
  2. Very short forms that result in both good leads and crummy leads.
  3. Plain old stupid forms (like the kind that ask for your fax number as a required field.) I won’t even write about those today.

I made a very conscious decision to go with an extremely short form on the LunaMetrics site. It was the minimum amount of information that I needed: Name, email address and an optional place to include notes.  We even pointed out how short our form was. So, it was a #2, a very short form that took good leads and bad ones.

But then we did the user testing (read about our experience with usertesting.com) that was just fascinating. One of the comments we heard from a handful of people went something like this, “What kind of a ridiculous form is that?  Don’t they even need my company name? It makes me think that they are going to send me spam.”

There is no time like the present to fix easy problems. So we changed our form to include Company and Phone Number. Since the change, our conversion rate for “filled out a form,” is up 10%.  And on top of that, we get much better data in our forms — people give us a link to their sites (making it way easier to check them out before calling) and willingly give out their phone numbers, too.  The phone number part is the one I like the best, I can pick up the phone and call the prospect.